Looks like UFC 105 finally got its main event and it doesn’t include Dan Henderson, Nate Marquardt, Anderson Silva or any combination of the above.
Instead, out of left field comes news of a light heavyweight headliner in the form of Randy Couture vs. Brandon Vera.
I can confirm Randy Couture will make his return to the light-heavyweight division at UFC 105 in Manchester at the MEN Arena on November 14. These are not rumours.
After much searching, Brandon Vera will be his opponent. There have been discussions over several main events for Manchester, but I understand that Couture v Vera is now nailed down. Both men will have had a ten-week break since their last fight – at UFC 102 in Portland, Oregon. Couture is sure to get a huge reception in the UK, where he has legions of fans.
Hmm, can’t say I was expecting this nor did I ever think one of Randy Couture’s last fights would come against someone who has been so consistently underwhelming in the past two years. I’m not going to complain because we’re getting some pretty sweet fights in the events surrounding UFC 105 and it is free, but still, I’m a bit disappointed with this one.
This story’s not over though. As we all know, Randy Couture has a pay-per-view revenue share built in to his contract, so why would he take an overseas fight that won’t even be on pay-per-view? Good question. The UFC may or may not be giving him a special bonus to make up for it (probably are), but according to Inside Fights, they are promising him a title shot if he wins.
Inside Fights has also learned that Couture will receive a title shot if he beats Vera. The title shot was promised in exchange for Couture agreeing to help save the show, which was desperately in need of an announced main event before tickets go on sale on Monday. Couture also receives a portion of the pay per view revenue, which he will be foregoing by fighting on the free Spike television broadcast.
Really? I can understand wanting to get Randy in the title picture somewhere for the last time and needing a carrot to dangle in front of him to save their event, but seriously, a title shot from beating Brandon Vera after dropping two in a row? That’s weak and seems a bit forced if you ask me.
Oh, and in case you were wondering if Hendo-Marquardt may still make it on the card, it won’t.
Update: This one’s official, UFC announced it this morning.
“I would love to be a six-time UFC champion, to set the bar very high in that regard, and that’s what I want to accomplish at 205lbs,” said the Natural. “That is my immediate goal. I am very intrigued by the current light heavyweight division, there are some great matchups for me here, and I believe I have to tools to win back the 205lbs title.”
In his first bout in the light heavyweight class since the climax of his iconic trilogy with Chuck Liddell in February 2006, Couture meets the formidable challenge of Brandon ‘The Truth’ Vera.
Couture said: “Brandon Vera is the first of these challenges at 205lbs. It would have been very nice to be the big guy in the Octagon(TM) for the first time in years but, having trained with Brandon and competed against him in wrestling many years ago, I know that he is as big and as powerful as I am.
“He’s looked very sharp, very dangerous, in his last few fights. His stand up is very good, he is very fast and accurate with his kicks and he can hurt you to the legs with those weapons. He also proved he has the power to hurt big heavyweights, and that he can be patient and take advantage if you make a mistake.
“He is known for his stand-up in the UFC, but I know from experience that his wrestling is outstanding. He represents some interesting tactical problems, but I feel physically as good as ever and am ready to throw my name into the 205lbs title picture with a great performance.”